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‘What did you learn in school today?’ (asking for a political stakeholder)

Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley, right, with Moms for Liberty founder Tiffany Justice, left, during a town hall meeting at Founders Academy in Manchester, N.H. Sept. 6.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Right-wing groups are trampling on parents’ rights, not defending them

Re “ ‘Parental rights’ fight enters N.H. campaign: GOP hopefuls target fears of voters over school lessons” (Page A1, Sept. 11): Those who are calling for “parents’ rights” are doing nothing of the sort; rather, they are fighting for the right of a small group of people to impose their views on others.

What about the rights of the parents of transgender children who want their kids to be acknowledged in school? What about the rights of parents who want their children to learn what really happened in American history, rather than being told that everything has been almost perfect?


Far from accommodating parents, the GOP wants to impose a rigid dogma on education. If the Republican Party prevails, America will be the worse for it.

John C. Berg


The writer is a professor emeritus of government at Suffolk University.

Those ‘good old days’? Let her recall for you what she was taught in the ’50s and ’60s.

Regarding the efforts of parents’ groups and legislators to ignore science and whitewash history: When I went to school several decades ago, we learned American history with all its wrong turns and embarrassments. These new censorship efforts are promoting the false narrative that in the so-called old days, American children were taught that everything about America was great. No, we weren’t.

We were told about the horrors of slavery and the sacrifice of hundreds of thousands of soldiers’ lives to end it. We learned about the Trail of Tears. We were told that Manifest Destiny was an unfair justification for mistreating Indians (as we called Indigenous people then). We were even taught that General George Custer sorta-maybe had it coming at the Battle of Little Bighorn. We were shown paintings by Norman Rockwell of Black girls being escorted to school by federal marshals. That was elementary school education in the 1950s and ’60s.

This education did not make us feel shame; on the contrary, we were encouraged to feel immense pride. And we did, not because we ignored our history, but rather because our history had been one of enormous progress toward living up to the ideals on which our nation was founded. That, we believed, was why we were indeed the greatest nation on earth.


I started public school 70 years ago. I am hanging on to the belief that we are the greatest nation on earth. But if that’s true, then we will have to stand up to these politically motivated attempts to set back our nation’s progress.

Julia Glendon


Parents’ rights and responsibilities go together

Setting aside for the moment that Moms for Liberty is a conservative group, and considering that conservatism throughout history has had little to do with liberty, not to mention that some of these “moms” in Moms for Liberty have no children in public school, or no children in the local school systems at issue, this demand for parents’ rights is forgetting that rights and responsibilities go together.

Parents’ responsibilities do not begin at taking control of school boards, harassing educators, and pontificating the talking points of the institutions that fund this crusade. Before sending a child into the greater world, dear parent, make sure your own home is in order. Before you malign the work of those who legally replace you as parents (in loco parentis), consider the challenges they face in the classroom every day.

I don’t think Moms for Liberty cares a whit about authentic, critical-thinking-based education. The group is a tool of right-wing politicians and institutions.


Edward Morneau


Good to see parents getting involved in what their kids are learning

Re “Waging war on schools” (Metro, Sept. 7): Why should children be subjected to mature subjects such as gender and sexuality at a young age? Shouldn’t they be children first? Yet in her criticism of censorship, Yvonne Abraham characterizes groups such as Moms for Liberty and Parents Defending Education as some sort of right-wing conspiracy. I think it is great to see parents getting involved in what their children learn in their formative years.

Abraham concludes by insulting these parents’ groups as “throwback outfits” and argues that their efforts to restrict children’s access to certain content are futile. Why? Because kids have the answer in the palms of their hands with their phones. Perhaps parents should pay more attention to what their children are looking at.

Abraham callously claims that “the book wars aren’t really about protecting kids. They are about protecting certain adults’ power.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Parents are taking an interest in protecting their children from what is inappropriate.

And by the way, wasn’t it liberals who have balked at “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”?

John C. Going


Clear a path for ‘Mommas for Commas,’ guardians of the language!

In response to the Moms for Liberty, a group determined, it seems, to eliminate any mention of gender or race from public schools, I call for the formation of a counterinsurgency: Mommas for Commas.


We will welcome anyone as a member, no matter how troubled, literate, or criminally liberal their backgrounds, so long as they swear allegiance to our core mission: Proper punctuation in all communications, be it email, direct messaging, spray-painted graffiti, anonymous hate-filled messages on the internet, or Facebook postings of family reunions.

Membership requires swearing allegiance to three basic principles:

1. Mommas for Commas demand that the term “Oxford comma” be consigned to the ash heap of history as a vestige of British grammatical imperialism and that it be renamed the Freedom comma.

2. Mommas for Commas will be unflinching in its support for deploying the Freedom comma before the conjunction in a series of three or more items.

3. We demand that any student in grades 3 through 12 whose punctuation is found to be faulty be required to stay after school on the day of the infraction. While serving detention, they will be required to write 500 times, “Good punctuation makes for good citizens.”

Bill Prindle